Archive for the ‘ObamaCare’ Category

LinkSwarm for August 26, 2016

Friday, August 26th, 2016

Welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! We’re just weeks away from The Burning Time giving way to The Season of Football.

Some links:

  • Here’s one forecast that has Trump and Clinton tied.
  • “Always correct election forecast model predicts Trump win, 51%-48%.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Average ObamaCare premiums surge 24% for 2017.
  • Well, not in Illinois. There, they’re going up as much as 90%.
  • In case you missed it last week, Pennsylvania’s Democratic attorney general Kathleen Kane resigned after being convicted of nine counts of perjury and obstruction of justice.
  • Silicon Valley CEO Gurbaksh Chahal allegedly hit his girlfriend 117 tiems, but was sentenced to probation. Oh, and he gives his political donations exclusively to Democrats. Why do so many Democrats commit violence against women?
  • George Soros hit up for money to sell the Iran deal.
  • Soros also celebrated the European refugee crisis being the new normal.
  • Obama wants to ban smoking in public housing. Hey, if you think we have riots now… (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Massachusetts takes rent-seeking to the next level, taxing ride-sharing services to subsidize taxis. Next up: Taxing cars to subsidize railroads and horses.
  • Germany in August.
  • July in the U.S. was one of the least hot months ever. Maybe not in Austin, but elsewhere…
  • Speaking of which, the 1936 heat wave must have been a nightmare to live with without air conditioning. It hit 121°F in North Dakota…
  • At one level, this piece is a good look at Gawker’s demise. At another, it’s shows New York media professionals at their whiny, narcissistic, incestuous, entitled worst. “It’s an inevitable consequence of living in today’s New York: Youthful anxiety and generational angst about having been completely cheated out of ownership of Manhattan, and only sporadically gaining it in Brooklyn and Queens, has fostered a bloodlust for the heads of the douchebags who stole the city.” Waaaah, the world owes me Manhattan real estate because I think I’m so much cooler than people who can actually afford it!
  • “NPR Deletes Comments, Says Commenters Are Too Old And Male.”
  • Google fiber hits reality: “Gee, wiring up that last mile is sure expensive! Why didn’t anyone tell us?”
  • Researchers say they can diagnose clinical depression from Instagram feeds. If they ever get to Tumblr, there won’t be enough Prozac left in the world…
  • “DNC Creates ‘Cybersecurity Board’ Without Any Cybersecurity Experts.”
  • Federal judge puts kibosh on Obama’s tranny bathroom plans.
  • What Canada needs is strict crossbow control laws. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • The Silence of the Jews in advance of the slow Islamicization of Sweden.
  • I know that when I think of Jewish history, I naturally think of Yoko Ono. And when I think of people who need Kickstarter to get funding, Yoko is way up there…
  • The tragic history of RC Cola. Too bad Diet RC tastes like crap. (That goes for that crappy offbrand Maine soda as well.)
  • Important Safety Tip: Don’t have sex on a neighbor’s roof, naked and high on meth.
  • I’m not going to pony up $200+ to attend the Texas Tribune Festival, and I doubt I could finagle a press badge. But Phil Collins being there does indeed make it more tempting, if only I could be sure I could get all my old Genesis albums signed…
  • Abandoned Olympic venues from around the world. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • This woman doesn’t have issues, she has a lifetime subscription and bound volumes.
  • And then there was one.
  • LinkSwarm for August 12, 2016

    Friday, August 12th, 2016

    Welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! Here in Texas it’s been hitting 104°F during the day. That’s bad enough, but worse is trying to walk your dog at night when it’s still 93° with no wind.

  • Hillary’s lead over Trump isn’t quite as wide as Dukkakis’ lead over Bush.
  • Trump raised $80 million in July.
  • DNC email hack a whole lot bigger than previously thought.
  • ObamaCare premiums set to explode again in 2017.
  • Ace of Spades HQ contends we’re in this mess because the GOP establishment is secretly all-in on illegal alien amnesty and think the base is racist for opposing their Olympian insight, but has steadfastly refused to tell voters what they actually think:

    The Establishment and establishment-aligned commentators are guilty of the Yeah Yeah Evasion I spoke of above with respect to amnesty.

    Oh, sure, in 2014, they’ll run on a super-border-hawk national platform, and vow to oppose, unto their dying breath, Obama’s executive amnesties.

    And sure, they’ll trot out a field of 17 candidates, fifteen of whom who have been coached to give the corporate/donor class evasive answer on the border.

    Snip.

    Now, the Trumpkins come along — I’ll use the Establishment’s slur for them — and the Trumpkins believe that it is standard GOP doctrine that we should have a border wall and be tough on border security, up to and including deportations.

    They think there’s broad support for this in the party. They don’t think this position is controversial — they think it’s just a base plank of the platform.

    Gee — I wonder where they could have gotten that idea, Establishment, huh?

    I guess those stupid Trumpkins did something crazy — the believed the lies pouring out of your mouths every election eve.

    So once again we have a political calamity brewing– the Establishment types, the college educated set who has no fear of being displaced by a cheaper foreign worker, misled the white working class into thinking they agreed with them on immigration, while secretly — silently — holding the opinion that anything short of open borders was kinda-sorta (or definitely) racist.

  • Rahm Emmanuel steals from the poor (Chicago utility users) to give to the rich (union pension funds). (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • New Jersey teacher’s union wants to write its pension gravy train into the state constitution, vows revenge on Democrat who blocked it.
  • Rotherham is still a center for Muslim child rape gangs. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Alumni have started to decide that if college administrators insist on preemptively surrendering to Social Justice Warriors, then their donations can go elsewhere. (Hat tip: Hot Air.)
  • “State Sen. Judith Zaffirini and her associates have agreed to pay roughly $38 million to settle a lawsuit in which they were accused of seizing control of a massive real estate inheritance for their own enrichment. The Laredo Democrat still has a chance to get richer. She and her crew will walk away owning 444 acres of prime Laredo real estate that nobody bequeathed to them. They’ll need to continue developing the land to come up with the $38 million, but everything they clear above that will be profit. That’s not including, of course, the millions that the Zaffirini crew has already paid itself in legal and management fees out of the inheritance, including roughly $1.5 million paid to Carlos Zaffirini’s law firm.”
  • My friend Karl Rehn’s study on just what the best aiming system (red dot vs. laser vs. iron sights) gets a nice writeup by Massad Ayoob. (Hat tip: Stuff from Hsoi.)
  • Title IX is killing men’s teams at historically black colleges and universities.
  • British MPs facing a booze ban due to having to move to a Muslim-owned building while Westminster is refurbished (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Hungary says no to more “Syrian refugees.” EU to shove more of them down Hungary’s throat, because joining the EU means signing your national sovereignty away
  • Wal-Mart acquires Jet.com (which is an online retailer, not an airline).
  • Facebook to users using Adblock: “Shut up and eat some ads.
  • “Fisking the Latest Diversity in Sci-Fi Freak Out.”
  • Buy your own Sherman Tank. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • “It’s ridiculous for anyone to worry that the new Ghostbusters will ruin their childhoods retroactively. We should worry about this piece of shit ruining childhoods in real time.”‘
  • Heh. The Ghostbusters reboot to gross “almost exactly $.78 for every $1 the first one earned.”
  • In another sign of 2016’s impending apocalypse, corpse flowers are blooming across America.
  • Crime scene dioramas. Or, as the creator calls them, “dieoramas.” (More here.)
  • Cat-like typing detected.
  • LinkSwarm for August 5, 2016

    Friday, August 5th, 2016

    Enjoy a Friday LinkSwarm! A lot of plane and weird news links this time around:

  • Aetna is losing $300 million a year on ObamaCare. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Air Force Declares F-35 ready for combat. (Hat tip: Borepatch, who is more than a little skeptical…)
  • Islamic State Sinai leader Abu Dua al-Ansari killed in Egyptian air strike.
  • Is there any greater bastion of 1%er elitism than New York Times wedding announcements?

    How is it actually acceptable for an ostensibly liberal newspaper to conclude that wealthy, well-educated people’s lives are more interesting and worth more attention than non-wealthy, less-educated people? Everyone laughs about the Weddings section, even the Times itself. But joking aside, isn’t it morally indefensible to treat people as newsworthy in accordance with their elite social status… a paper run by liberals, who would profess themselves averse to inequality, openly treats most of the population as insignificant.

    (Hat tip: Dwight.)

  • Cahnman’s Musings has a really solid review of Jane Jacobs’ classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities and how central planning screwed everything up.
  • Clint Eastwood on various liberal whining over Trump: “Just fucking get over it.”
  • Frau Merkel ist nicht sehr beliebt.
  • Austin’s toy trains are a monument to government waste. (Hat tip: Push Junction.)
  • What Pokémon Go Teaches Us About Capitalism.
  • #BlackLivesMatters is all in against Israel. So what do George Soros and Tom Steyer have against Israel? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “A point of view should be based on its own merit, not dismissed by a lazy appeal to privilege.”
  • Funny or die mostly does the latter. (Funny or Die still has 95 staffers? Really? It takes that many people to produce mediocre comedy?)
  • Things you never knew about the World’s Strongest Man competition.
  • An Exciting History of Drywall.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Who would have won the battle between a Bismarck-class battleship and an Iowa class battleship? (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Butthurt level: Epic.
  • Airplane trick.
  • Feel good dog story of the day.
  • Behold the legendary crime spree of Dickface Johnson.
  • “Oh no! Not the bees!
  • LinkSwarm for July 15, 2016

    Friday, July 15th, 2016

    Enjoy a Friday LinkSwarm, including some recent big stories:

  • Truck plows into Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France, killing at least 84, including a father and his 10 year old son from Lakeway.
  • The murder is evidently a Muslim from Tunisia. And his name is evidently Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. Try to contain your shock.
  • The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague rules against China in the South China Seas dispute. Whether China heeds the ruling is another question…
  • Another day, another Democratic congresscritter indicted. “Corrine Brown, the House rep from the 5th District of Florida, was indicted (along with Ronnie Simmons, her chief of staff) on federal charges of mail and wire fraud.”
  • Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are neck and neck in swing states.
  • “The U.S. State Department funneled tax dollars to a group that worked to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a Senate report released Tuesday.”
  • Another ObamaCare exchange shuts down, this time in Illinois.
  • And six of the seven remaining exchanges are in trouble.
  • Philadelphia airport workers to go on strike during the Democratic National Convention.
  • Houston City Councilman calls for segregation in police shifts. Next up: Their own drinking fountains… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Previously deported illegal alien sentenced to life in prison for murder in Laredo.
  • Following in the footsteps of Annise Parker, Austin City Council wants to silence opponents who speak out on politics.
  • The left’s war on police. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • El Paso police chief Greg Allen calls Black Lives Matter “a radical hate group.”
  • University of Texas to return athletic ticket sales to a group previously proven to be corrupt.
  • Ghostbusters reboot toys already on clearance before the movie’s opening.
  • Strippers, arson and a potato. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Understatement of the Year Award:

    An inspection of the truck’s cargo revealed 169 bundles of marijuana with an estimated weight of 3,996 lbs. were on board.

    The estimated street value of the marijuana is between $1.6 million and $1.9 million. Perez was charged with Trafficking Marijuana in the Superior Court of DeKalb County, Georgia.

    Doraville Police say they are “pretty confident this would exceed personal use.”

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.

  • Texas vs. California Update for June 2, 2016

    Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

    Time for another Texas vs. California update:

  • Once again, Texas is ranked as the best state for business by CEO Magazine, while California is ranked the worst. (Hat tip: Rider Rants via Pension Tsunami.)
  • This OC Register piece offers an good restatement of the general problem:

    California has earned quite a reputation for being openly hostile to business, as confirmed by numerous studies and surveys. Its plethora of taxes and regulations are driving away legions of entrepreneurs and workers, but they are doing wonders for one segment of the economy: the moving industry. It is almost as though that industry is secretly lobbying the state Legislature for its anti-business policies.

    Joe Vranich, as president of Spectrum Location Solutions, an Irvine business relocation consulting firm, knows all about what drives businesses’ decisions to give up and leave for greener pastures. According to his research, in just the past seven years, approximately 9,000 businesses have decided to leave California or expand their operations out of state. Companies leaving California typically save between 20 percent and 35 percent of operating costs, he concluded.

    Texas has been the biggest beneficiary of California’s business exodus.

    Snip.

    California’s litigious climate has become a common complaint of business owners. No wonder the American Tort Reform Foundation once again named California the No. 1 “Judicial Hellhole” in the nation last year, based on the state’s excessive laws and regulations and a flood of disability access, asbestos and food advertising and labeling lawsuits, frequently more opportunistic attempts at extortion than legitimate attempts to seek justice for victims who have been truly harmed.

    California has proven to be a particularly harsh climate for manufacturing businesses. “Even if California were to eliminate the state income taxes tomorrow, that still would not be enough,” CellPoint Corp. CEO Ehsan Gharatappeh told the Dallas Business Journal of the Costa Mesa company’s move to Forth Worth.

    General Magnaplate Corp., which has made reinforced parts for the aerospace, transportation, medical, oil and other industries for 36 years, decided to shut down its California facility in Ventura altogether. “This is a very sad day for our employees and for my family, who have a long history of job creation in this area, but the simple fact is that the state of California does not provide a business-friendly environment,” CEO Candida Aversenti said in a press release. “Increases in workers’ compensation costs and government regulations, combined with predatory citizens groups and law firms that make their living entirely by preying on small businesses, have left us with no other choice but to shut down our California facility. This is in stark contrast to our New Jersey and Texas facilities, which are flourishing in small business-friendly environments created by the respective local governments and environmental agencies.”

  • Tech layoffs double in the Bay area:

    Yahoo’s 279 workers let go this year contributed to the 3,135 tech jobs lost in the four-county region of Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda and San Francisco counties from January through April, as did the 50 workers axed at Toshiba America in Livermore and the 71 at Autodesk in San Francisco. In the first four months of last year, just 1,515 Bay Area tech workers were laid off, according to mandatory filings under California’s WARN Act. For that period in 2014, the region’s tech layoffs numbered 1,330.

  • How did the California city of Irwindale rack up the largest per household market pension debt in the state, at $134,907 per household?
  • Low and negative interest rates means that CalPERS must make risky investments to even come close to hitting their yield targets:

    The nation’s largest public pension fund, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, has one-fifth of its assets in bonds and is down 1.3% since July 1, according to public documents. The system, known by its abbreviation Calpers, also has 53.1% of its assets in stocks, 9% in real estate and 9.4% in private equity. In 2015, Calpers posted a return of 2.4%, below its target rate of 7.5%.

    Nor is CalSTARS doing much better:

    The nation’s second-largest public pension plan, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, has shifted a significant amount of money away from some stocks and bonds to protect against a downturn. It moved assets into U.S. Treasurys and so-called liquid-alternative funds, which mimic hedge-fund strategies. Calstrs, as the pension is called, reported gains of 1.5% during a choppy 2015, with returns on its fixed-income investments up just 0.6%.

    (Note: WSJ link, so you may need to do the Google thing.)

  • News: Former CalPERS chief executive Fred Buenrostro convicted of bribery. California: Buenrostro will continue to receive his CalPERS pension while in prison. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Overview of the Texas budget.
  • UnitedHealth exits California’s Obamacare exchanges.
  • Despite that, California wants to offer ObamaCare subsidies to illegal aliens.
  • California also wants to spend more money to send illegal aliens to college.
  • And those illegal aliens with California driver’s licenses still aren’t purchasing liability insurance.
  • Hate California traffic? Tough:

    The newest outrage comes from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research in the form of a proposed “road diet.” This would essentially halt attempts to expand or improve our roads, even when improvements have been approved by voters. This strategy can only make life worse for most Californians, since nearly 85 percent of us use a car to get to work. This in a state that already has among the worst-maintained roads in the country, with two-thirds of them in poor or mediocre condition.

    Snip.

    In essence, the notion animating the “road diet” is to make congestion so terrible that people will be forced out of their cars and onto transit. It’s not planning for how to make the ways people live today more sustainable. It has, in fact, more in common with Soviet-style social engineering, which was based similarly on a particular notion of “science” and progressive values.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • Toyota’s Plano headquarters takes shape.
  • The UAW is making a big push to unionize Tesla’s Fremont plant.
  • Speaking of Tesla, they’re approaching the grand opening of their giant battery factory…in Nevada.
  • McDonald’s CEO says a $15 minimum wage will make his restaurants shift to using robots. But what would McDonald’s know about minimum wage workers?
  • In the same vein, it’s no wonder that Whole Foods opened it’s first semi-automated Whole Foods 365 store in Los Angeles. “Promoted as a ‘chain for millennials,’ the new ‘365’ stores use about one-third less square footage than the company’s traditional 41,000-square-foot Whole Foods stores, but they also slash almost two-thirds of workers with robots and computerized kiosks.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Schedule for California high speed rail boondoggle pushed back four more years. Latest obstacle: wealthy equestrians. “Hey, this study says horses won’t mind a super-fast, super loud train zipping along right next to them.” “You mean the study from the institute that two bullet train authority members sit on? Get stuffed!”
  • “The State Assembly Subcommittee on Education voted Tuesday to delay funding to the UC system because of concerns with the UC Retirement Plan, proposed by UC President Janet Napolitano in March, which would cause the university to incur significant costs. The delay was announced after an actuarial report was released earlier that day by Pension Trustees Advisors, or PTA, which showed that the retirement plan would cost the university $500 million in savings, or $34 million a year, over the next 15 years.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Maywood, California (which had previously outsourced services to the corrupt city of Bell) is on the brink of bankruptcy. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • “Two L.A. sheriff’s deputies convicted of beating mentally ill inmate.”
  • San Francisco liberals versus the city’s police union
  • “Another aviation company has decided to move its corporate headquarters to Fort Worth to take advantage of the Lone Star state’s business friendly environment and the city’s longtime history in the aerospace industry. The move is historic for Burbank, California-based C&S Propeller — an FAA and EASA certified repair station for propeller and airplane maintenance — which has been in California for nearly five decades.”
  • This one’s a wash: XCOR lays off employees in both California and Texas.
  • LinkSwarm for May 23, 2016

    Monday, May 23rd, 2016

    This kept getting pushed out by other posts, so enjoy a heftier-than-usual LinkSwarm:

  • U.S. district court judge rules that House Republicans lawsuit against ObamaCare on separation-of-powers grounds can move forward. (Hat tip: Elizabeth Price Foley at Instapundit.)
  • You know how American leftists claim socialist Denmark is paradise on earth? Yeah, not so much. “Denmark’s suicide rate has averaged 20.8 per 100,000 during the last five decades, with its highest level of 32. The American suicide rate averaged only 11.1 during the last five decades, and has never exceeded 12.7. Danes are deeply deprived, driven by severe narcissism, and so more than 11 percent of adult Danes – the supposed happiest people in the world – are on antidepressants.”
  • Why the left hates the Jews:

    The Arab–Israeli conflict is a bitter and ugly one. My own view of it is that the Palestinian Arabs have some legitimate grievances, and that I stopped caring about them when they started blowing up children in pizza shops. You can thank the courageous heroes of the Battle of Sbarro for that. Israel isn’t my country, but it is my country’s ally, and it is impossible for a liberty-loving American to fail to admire what the Jewish state has done.

    And that, of course, is why the Left wants to see the Jewish state exterminated.

  • Vaguely related: “Frank Sinatra’s Love Affair With the Jewish People.
  • Brazil’s President impeached.
  • This just in: Europe is still screwed.
  • Greece approves new “austerity” measures that they’ll no doubt continue to cheat and ignore while spending money they don’t have.
  • Speaking of Greece, “More than one in five school-aged refugee children in Greece have never been to school, a study has revealed. Child refugees stranded in Greece have been out of school for on average 1.5 years, and many of them ‘cannot even hold a pencil.'”
  • Hezbollah operations chief killed by Syria, but nobody’s entirely sure by who.
  • Why did the feds give Bill Clinton’s pedophile friend Jeffrey Epstein a sweetheart deal?
  • Elijah Woods says there’s widespread pedophilia in Hollywood. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • One billionaire moving to Florida is going to cost New Jersey $140 million in tax revenue.
  • Electric cars don’t lower emissions overall.
  • No sign of a down ballot Republican crackup.
  • Target has shed $10 billion in stock value since announcing its tranny bathrooms policy.
  • Why feminists hate sex: “The new feminist puritans see heterosexual sex as confirming and reinforcing outdated gender roles. That men and women not only have sex but enjoy it is a threat to the notion that both gender and sexuality are merely social constructs, to be crafted and rejected as instinct takes us.”
  • Why did 16 Republican Senators save the agency that’s hell-bent on creating instant public housing slums across America?
  • More than 300 UK CEOs come out in favor of a Brexit.
  • Eye-open infographic on mass public shootings from John Lott.
  • More proof that Social Justice Warriors hate everything, no matter how cute.
  • World’s oldest woman, and last living American born in the 19th century, dies. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Listeria outbreak among frozen fruits and vegetables. “Some of the affected products were sold under brand names such as Earth’s Pride, Panda Express, Signature Kitchens and Trader Joe’s.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Meet the vegan Bernie Madoff. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Black Pimps Matter.
  • Safety tip: Try not to get killed over cutting in line for the taco truck.
  • Facebook bans conservative for saying that Facebook bans conservatives. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Canadian company working on 20km high space elevator.
  • Jim Geraghty visits NRRAM.
  • The Dallas convention center sucks.
  • Microsoft is gonna Microsoft redux. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Wikipedia editor contemplates suicide over toxic atmosphere of powertripping.
  • Rehab for Internet addiction. “The program costs $25,000 for 45 days at the center.” Obviously I can’t be addicted to the Internet, because there’s no way I could afford the rehab…
  • I’m stealing this from Ace of Spades HQ:

  • Good Analysis of the Failure That is ObamaCare

    Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

    I know I just haven’t harped enough on the tremendous, stinking heap of fail that is ObamaCare, but just in case anyone was unclear on that, here’s Marc Thiessen with a solid rundown:

    Historian David Maraniss notes, in Sunday’s Post, that President Obama came to office with the goal of changing “the trajectory of America” and leaving “a legacy as a president of consequence, the liberal counter to [Ronald] Reagan.”

    On the foreign-policy front, he is the anti-Reagan for certain. Reagan defeated Soviet communism and left us a safer world; Obama presided over the rise and metastasis of the Islamic State and left us a far more dangerous one.

    Domestically, Ronald Reagan told the American people: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’ ” Obama wanted to convince Americans that they were not terrifying. And the way he was going to do it was through the only great liberal legislative achievement of his presidency: Obamacare.

    He failed. Even before he leaves office, Obamacare has begun unraveling.

    The law was passed over the objections of a majority of Americans, it is still opposed by a majority of Americans — and their opposition has been vindicated. Last week, UnitedHealth Group announced that, after estimated losses of more than $1 billion for 2015 and 2016 under Obamacare, the company was pulling out of most of its ill-fated exchanges.

    In fact, commercial insurers across the country are hemorrhaging money on Obamacare at alarming rates. Health Care Service Corp. (which owns Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliates in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas) has lost “well north of $2 billion” in its first two years — twice as much as UnitedHealth. Highmark, the nation’s fourth-largest Blue Cross plan, lost nearly $600 million in 2015. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has projected it will lose more than $400 million in the first two years, and the company has said it may leave the exchanges entirely next year.

    The president promised these insurers taxpayer bailouts if they lost money, but Congress in its wisdom passed legislation barring the use of taxpayer dollars to prop up the insurers. Without the bailouts, commercial insurers are being forced to eat their losses — while more than half of the Obamacare nonprofit insurance cooperatives created under the law failed.

    So what happens now? Because commercial insurers are not going to keep bleeding cash to prop up Obamacare, they have three choices: 1) scale back coverage, 2) raise prices or 3) get out of the exchanges entirely. More and more are going to choose option 3.

    Does this mean that Obamacare is finally entering its “death spiral”? Not exactly. As my American Enterprise Institute colleague Scott Gottlieb explains, while commercial insurers are starting to leave Obamacare, they are being replaced by Medicaid health maintenance organizations (HMOs) offering skimpy plans that mirror what they offer in Medicaid — our nation’s emergency health insurance program for the poorest of the poor.

    This is a catastrophe for people stuck in Obamacare. According to a 2014 McKinsey survey, about three-quarters of those in the exchanges were previously insured on commercial plans, either through their employers or the individual market. They were doing fine without taxpayer-subsidized insurance but were pushed into Obamacare. They now face rising premiums and smaller provider networks — and as commercial insurers flee, they will increasingly be stuck in horrible, Medicaid-style plans.

    This is not what the president promised when he sold Obamacare to the American people.

    Snip.

    With Obamacare, Obama wanted to restore America’s faith in big government. Instead, the opposite has happened. Today, 69 percent of Americans say big government is “the biggest threat to the country in the future” (ahead of big business or big labor). That figure, which is slightly down from 72 percent in 2013, is higher under Obama than it has been since Gallup began asking the question about 50 years ago. Obamacare has done more to discredit big government than 1,000 Reagan speeches ever did.

    That, in the end, will be Obama’s enduring domestic legacy.

    Read the whole thing.

    LinkSwarm for April 22, 2016

    Friday, April 22nd, 2016

    As today is a made-up celebration called “Earth Day,” be sure to have beef for dinner…

  • Reminder: “Officials at VA’s Phoenix hospital manipulated wait-time data to make it appear they were connecting doctors and veterans seeking appointments much faster than they actually were. This was done so VA managers at the Arizona facility could keep getting generous performance bonuses. They got their bonuses but dozens of waiting veterans died.” So how did the VA address the problem? They hired someone accused of doing the exact same thing at another hospital.
  • Huge ObamaCare premium hikes are coming down the pike in 2017. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “The largest health insurer in the U.S. has started pulling out of select Obamacare exchanges.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Eight more ObamaCare co-ops are about to bite the dust.
  • Meanwhile, ObamaCare is helping enourage opioid addiction.
  • Thanks to Obama’s supergenius management, the Taliban are now winning in Afghanistan.
  • “The National Labor Relations Board suspended a top-ranking Philadelphia official after receiving complaints that he helped raise money from unions for his pro-union charity.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Following a congressional subpoena over Benghazi, Hillary’s state department staff hid requested files in another department. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Is Rhode Island closing 66% of polling places for next week’s presidential primaries? Something smells.
  • How Ted Cruz could beat Hillary Clinton. “Clin­ton is en­ter­ing the gen­er­al elec­tion with glar­ing vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies of her own. Her im­age is tox­ic to Re­pub­lic­ans and in­de­pend­ents, and her pop­ular­ity among Demo­crats is now at an all-time low as a pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate, ac­cord­ing to Gal­lup’s polling. It won’t take a top-tier Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate to win.” Also: “Cruz con­sist­ently runs far more com­pet­it­ively against Clin­ton than Trump does.”
  • “It’s not just Wall Street banks. Most companies and groups that paid Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to speak between 2013 and 2015 have lobbied federal agencies in recent years, and more than one-third are government contractors, an Associated Press review has found. Their interests are sprawling and would follow Clinton to the White House should she win election this fall.”
  • Donald Trump jumps on the social justice warrior tranny bathroom bandwagon.
  • Evidently accused pedophile Terry Bean is the one whose organizations are pushing tranny bathroom bills down America’s throats. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Trump convention manager Paul Manafort engages in the time-honored traditional rhetorical device know as “lying your ass off.”
  • Thomas Sowell on campaign lies and dodgy statistics.
  • “Although our panel’s original estimates had Trump finishing with 1,175 pledged delegates, my revised deterministic projections have him at 1,155, and the probabilistic version has him at 1,159.”
  • Ted Cruz has done heavy organizing in California.
  • Man indicted for selling school supplies to Detroit schools he didn’t actually deliver…with the connivance of several principles receiving kickbacks. Now, remind me: Which party has controlled Detroit for half a century?
  • Venezuela instituting four hours of blackouts a day, in addition to the previously mentioned three day weekends. That socialist paradise just keeps
  • Brazil impeaches their President.
  • Won’t someone please think of poor, penniless Boeing?
  • When low-fat dogma trumped science: hamburger study data showed exacpt opposite of study’s conclusions.
  • Navy chief starving Marine air corps.
  • What Women Really Want Is The Patriarchy.”
  • ‘White Privilege’ Is a Racial Slur.”
  • Walden is less a cornerstone work of environmental literature than the original cabin porn: a fantasy about rustic life divorced from the reality of living in the woods, and, especially, a fantasy about escaping the entanglements and responsibilities of living among other people.”
  • Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano erupts. Popocatepetl is less than 50 miles from Mexico City…
  • Goldman Sachs pays $5 billion fine to “settle claims that it misled mortgage bond investors during the financial crisis.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Pratt & Whitney pushing a B-52 engine upgrade.
  • The woman who can’t remember her own past. (Hat tip: Bill Crider.)
  • Lileks: “Who wouldn’t want to lounge around in a set from a 1970s failed Gene Roddenberry pilot?” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Son, that’s no way to treat steaks. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • John Stossel: “I have lung cancer”

    Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

    This is one of those bad new/good news things:

    I write this from the hospital. Seems I have lung cancer.

    My doctors tell me my growth was caught early and I’ll be fine. Soon I will barely notice that a fifth of my lung is gone. I believe them. After all, I’m at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. U.S. News & World Report ranked it No. 1 in New York. I get excellent medical care here.

    Cancer sucks, catching it early doesn’t. But it being Stossel, he has some observations on the process:

    But as a consumer reporter, I have to say, the hospital’s customer service stinks. Doctors keep me waiting for hours, and no one bothers to call or email to say, “I’m running late.” Few doctors give out their email address. Patients can’t communicate using modern technology.

    I get X-rays, EKG tests, echocardiograms, blood tests. Are all needed? I doubt it. But no one discusses that with me or mentions the cost. Why would they? The patient rarely pays directly. Government or insurance companies pay.

    And ObamaCare hasn’t made it any better.

    Customer service is sclerotic because hospitals are largely socialist bureaucracies. Instead of answering to consumers, which forces businesses to be nimble, hospitals report to government, lawyers and insurance companies.

    Whenever there’s a mistake, politicians impose new rules: the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act paperwork, patient rights regulations, new layers of bureaucracy…

    Snip.

    Leftists say the solution to such problems is government health care. But did they not notice what happened at Veterans Affairs? Bureaucrats let veterans die, waiting for care. When the scandal was exposed, they didn’t stop. USA Today reports that the abuse continues. Sometimes the VA’s suicide hotline goes to voicemail.

    Patients will have a better experience only when more of us spend our own money for care. That’s what makes markets work.

    The War on the Little Sisters of the Poor

    Thursday, April 14th, 2016

    The Little Sisters of the Poor case, which will decide whether the Obama Administration can force Catholic nuns to pay for abortions by fiat, is before the Supreme Court.

    Some interesting developments:

    The government’s position in Zubik v. Burwell, the contraceptive mandate case, just got weirder. It is increasingly difficult to understand why the government has been litigating so long and so hard to force the Little Sisters and other religious organizations to perform acts they regard as contrary to their faith, when it now admits (however grudgingly) that it all was unnecessary.

    Of course, this ignores the possibility that the entire point of ObamaCare (and the administration’s specific interpretation of same) was to force Catholics and evangelicals to pay for abortion against their will. As Yuval Levin notes: “It is a culture war of choice on the part of the Obama White House.” That’s the reason this administration is willing to violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in order to punish the The Little Sisters of the Poor. As Instapundit noted: “They hate those groups and wanted to punish them.”

    Every knee must bend.